Sometimes people write to me and ask me to write about a certain subject. Such was the case at the end of last week when I received an e-mail from Erica. She writes: “If you ever get a chance, could you do a blog on what is different between showing in the regular classes vs. the breeder/owner/handler class? I've always wondered if it was really different or not. The latter seems more fun to me but then again I also prefer to show my own dogs.” Well Erica, I confess I’ve never shown my own dogs myself except when I’ve taken them into puppy matches. Going Best Puppy at a match is about my only claim to fame being an owner/handler.
Why, you may ask don’t more people show their own dogs? Aside from physical, health or age related reasons; there are those that believe that they wouldn’t have the same competitive edge as they do with a professional handler. Most of the time (not all of the time), a dog won’t show as well for his owner as he does for a handler. He might not move as well for his owner. You remember that little thing called “double handling?” Well this can be all the “edge” that some dogs need. This can be the “spark” that makes all the difference in the show ring. This is a movement breed and therefore, the dog will be judged quite a bit on this. If he gaits easily by your side, he won’t have the same advantage as those dogs that are gaiting at the end of their lead.
When the dog is set up in the ring and the judge is looking at them, he’s looking for a dog that says “Look at me. Aren’t I special?” With a dog that is being professionally handled, he’s alert because he’s looking for his owner. Now in the all-breed ring, the handler trains the dog to bait to keep him looking alert.
I called my friend this morning that does a lot of exhibiting in the Bred by Exhibitor classes and asked him to shed some light on this subject for me. He’s taken many points from this class. He told me that you can enter a puppy six months and above in this class. But at the all breed shows, most judges do not like putting up a puppy for the points. He told me that you have a better chance of winning from this class if the judge is a judge that showed his own dogs in the Bred by Class. He said it was important to know your judges and like at any show, know what it is that they are looking for. He also told me that about 80% of the time, it’s cheaper to enter in the Bred-By-Class. He told me if you finish a dog’s championship from the Bred by Exhibitor class, the AKC (American Kennel Club) gives you a Bred by Exhibitor Champion certificate.
So I asked my friend, how many championships for the German Shepherd Dog is finished from this class. His answer was……few and far between. I asked him why this was. His feeling was that many novice people enter this class that does not have the experience or knowledge about the proper way to show our breed. He said that they don’t have the capability to show their own dogs the way that they need to in order to be competitive. He said that the owner should really work with their dogs to make them ready to show competitively. Most importantly, make sure your dog is good enough to win.
There must not be anything more satisfying than finishing your own dog that you bred and own. Some people will co-breed their dog with a handler so that the handler is now the co-breeder and can show the dog for them in this class. This is not the same thing as the actual breeder who whelped the litter and kept the dog to show.
Some of you like Erica who wrote to me enjoy tremendously going out in to the ring and showing off your own dog. It can be a great experience and an enormous sense of pride for the owner. Finishing your dog from this class is the ultimate in satisfaction……….BUT how many of them do?
Can the Bred by Exhibitor truly compete and win against the professional handler? If he does, what are his odds of winning? I would think if a person really wants to show and be competitive from this class……….watch and learn what it is that the professional handler is doing that you may not be doing. Learn from them. Ask them if you can have a moment of their time and ask them something that you would like to know. Realize however, that these professionals are extremely busy at the shows so you may not get the satisfaction that you were hoping you would by talking to them. It’s probably a better idea to wait to talk to him after the show is over. Some professionals will take an apprentice under their direction and help guide him.
Some people that exhibit in the Bred by Classes do so to put some single points on the dog themselves. Then when it’s time to go after the major points, they’ll hire a professional handler.
So then, these are my questions to my readers……how many German Shepherd’s finish their championships from the Bred by Class? I’m not talking about those breeders that co-breed with an up and coming or professional handler so that person can show the dog for them. I’m talking about the actual owner that has PHYSICAL possession of the dog that they bred.
My next question is how many Bred by Exhibitor Dogs, if at all, ever won the points at the National Specialty show?
And lastly, how do the judges view those dogs that are shown under them in the Bred by Exhibitor classes? Obviously the good judge gives them an equal opportunity as the rest of his class winners. Do the judges feel that the dogs from this class exhibit the same quality as the dogs in the other classes? How many judges have awarded the Bred by Exhibitor dog the points at a MAJOR SPECIALTY show? I’m interested to know these answers, but let me qualify it by saying this……..these questions only pertain to those dogs that are not shown and co-owned by a professional or up coming handler. These questions are about the true Bred by Exhibitor.
Thanks Erica for your question and thanks to my friend for giving me a little insight in to the world of the Bred by exhibitor class.
My rating: finishing a dog from Bred By: (4), finishing a dog at all: (4)